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SA Director to explore Scotland's climate-friendly farming future

SA Director awarded Nuffield Scholarship

The Nuffield Farming Scholarship Trust has announced the appointment of the 2020 Nuffield Scholars, who are to commence their studies and travels in next year.

Aoife Behan, Director of Soil Association Scotland, has been awarded one of the prestigious Scholarships, which she will use to explore how Scotland can put in place effective policy and legislation to scale up nature-friendly agricultural practices and reach net-zero by 2045.

“Scottish Government has declared a climate emergency and put in place some of the most ambitious legally-binding targets in the world, which commit us to achieving net-zero emissions by 2045,” explained Behan.

“There’s a huge focus on the role of agriculture in meeting those targets, but not every route to net zero is equally good for Scotland. We need to make sure that we meet our climate change targets while also protecting biodiversity, ensuring fair livelihoods for farmers, and ensuring sustainable food production.”

Nuffield Farming Scholarships Trust award approximately 20 individuals each year with the opportunity to research topics of interest in either farming, food, horticulture or rural industries.

Scholars receive a bursary for travel anywhere in the world for a period of no less than 8 weeks to further their knowledge and understanding of their chosen study topic. On their return, a written report is published, and recommendations presented at the Annual Nuffield Farming Conference.

Ms Behan’s Scholarship is funded by The MacRobert Trust. “I’m delighted to have the opportunity to travel to see international examples of policies that are scaling agroecology in action,” said Behan.

“There are many places around the world where good policy and practice supports thriving agriculture and protects farm wildlife, natural resources and farmer’ livelihoods. I’m hugely excited to be able to bring this learning back to Scotland.”

“It’s a huge honour to be awarded this Scholarship. I’m looking forward to testing ideas with my fellow Scholars over the course of the next two years – I can’t wait to get started.”

The Scholarships will be formally awarded at the Nuffield Farming Conference in Warwick in late November, after which the Scholars will commence their 18-month long studies.

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